The Invention That Changed March Madness

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A detail of a referee's whistle during the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Kansas Jayhawks on March 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.
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The NCAA's March Madness tournament is in full swing, and in addition to the players and the coaches, our team here at WNYC Radio is watching out for the whistles on the court.

We are blowing the whistle on the most intense aspect of the March Madness competition: The Fox 40 whistle. It's the official referee whistle of the tournament and was initially invented by a jolly Canadian businessman, inventor, and basketball freak by the name of Ron Foxcroft.

Foxcroft's patented invention improves upon the whistle—an invention whose mother was a very terrifying necessity: Making sure a whistle blows when its needs to blow.

It's something Ron discovered when he was refereeing the Olympic gold medal game between the U.S. and Yugoslavia.

Today, Foxcroft is the founder and CEO of the company that makes the Fox 40, along with hundreds of other products. He's a former NCAA referee and the father of three boys whose determination has insured that no referee has to worry about not being heard ever again.